The accused Penpa Tsering, 33, in an undated photo.
DHARAMSHALA, May 23: An alleged Chinese spy has been arrested by Indian police from the exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala following a tip-off by Tibetan security agencies.
The Department of Security of the Central Tibetan Administration in a release today said that the accused Penpa Tsering, 33, a former member of the People's Liberation Army, was hatching a “terror plot” to poison two Tibetan youths aimed at “spreading chaos and terror in the Tibetan community.”
“A terror plot to poison two Tibetan youths – Tashi Gyaltsen@Tashi Dhondup and Karma Yeshi@Tashi by Chinese Security Agencies aimed at spreading chaos and terror in the Tibetan community was uncovered,” the release said.
“This latest exposure goes well beyond Chinese government’s aggressive intelligence gathering on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Central Tibetan Administration and other exile based organisations to undermine the exile community.”
According to the DoS, the accused hails from Lhari region of Nagchu in central Tibet and confessed to Tibetan security officials that he was first recruited and then sent across to India in 2009 by Li Yuquan who was then working as Party Secretary of Political and Legal Committee; Head of Public Security Bureau of Nagchu Prefecture, ‘TAR’ and a member of the 9th National People’s Congress of TAR. Li has been since transferred to Chamdo Prefecture, TAR but holding the same portfolio as before.
“Penpa Tsering is fully trained in intelligence tradecrafts and physical combat including weapon handling. He was in PLA from 1999 to 2002 and later worked in Public Security Bureau, Nagchu Prefecture prior to coming to India,” the release noted.
“Li Yuquan has initially tasked Penpa Tsering to collect intelligence on alleged “terrorist” activities against China by Central Tibetan Administration and Tibetan NGOs based in exile. He was asked to report on health condition and schedules of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
The accused had posed himself as a staff of the DoS and made contacts with numerous individuals to “collect specific intelligence on exile based Tibetan NGOs, important personalities, new comers from Tibet and vulnerabilities in Tibetan community; and reported these information to his handler on regular basis through phone, Internet based Weechat and QQ.”
Penpa Tsering was later tasked to poison the two Tibetan youths – Tashi Gyaltsen and Karma Yeshi – both of whom had escaped to India in early 2010.
“To execute this terror plot, Li summoned Penpa Tsering twice to Kathmandu, Nepal since 2012,” the DoS said. “Li along with other Chinese agents personally instructed him to eliminate the two youths by poisoning. Three different poisonous substances were first tested in front of his eyes on two puppies and a chicken and then handed to him.”
Penpa Tsering is believed to have received more than Indian Rupees Eleven lakhs from Li Yuquan since May 2009 for providing intelligence reports and task of eliminating the above two youths.
Following the revelations, the DoS appealed “all sensible and right thinking Tibetans to cooperate with us in further exposing evil designs of Chinese security agencies by providing credible and timely information whenever they come across of any such nature.”
The local police chief later told reporters that they have arrested Penpa Tsering on suspicion.
"We were keeping an eye on him after receiving a written complaint from Tibetan security agencies about his suspicious activity and on Wednesday evening, we arrested him," said superintendent of police (SP), Kangra, Balbir Thakur.